To stay up-to-date on best practices, our whole team received training at Stanford d.school, one of the pioneers of design thinking and human-centered design.
One of our goals is to build capacity for this approach within the City in order to help us to better serve our residents.
To do that, we anchor our work on the experiences of those most affected. For example, when we were asked to help think about ways to connect youth and young adults with jobs, we centered our work on the experiences and needs of young people.
We used a collaborative design process to address our primary research question:
How might we connect young people who grew up in Seattle to good jobs and prepare them for the future of work?
Over the summer, we interviewed over 83 young people as well as parents, supervisors, and staff from 8 departments. Our interviews produced hundreds of data points, such as:
When we heard similar sentiments from learning experts and secondary research, it became a theme:
Soft skills are loosely defined, and as a result evaluation of them can be culturally biased towards white culture.
This theme combined with others created an insight:
Young people are aware of the importance of soft skills, but inconsistent evaluation of these skills can lead to bias influenced by race and culture.
These insights have been shared with the mayor, our colleagues around the city, and with community partners:
We held four workshops (two internal, two public) to give people an opportunity to generate solutions to address these insights.
By consistently, continually, anchoring our work on the experiences of those most affected, we can be certain to keep people at the center of our work.
Our workshops generated over 550 ideas. The next step is to prototype our top ideas to test our assumptions. Once we have our prototypes, we’ll go back out into the community to get feedback on our ideas.
If you or your organization would like to help us to test some of these ideas – Let us know!